The Sport Integrity Global Alliance gathered for the first time yesterday with over 30 representatives from leading universities and research institutes. Over 20 different organisations came together from 14 different countries across four continents to mark the inaugural meeting of its SIGA University Network (SUN).
SIGA instigated the SUN to promote greater international collaboration between universities and the broader sports stakeholder landscape. Taking place digitally, the launch set out the purpose of the Network and outlined SIGA’s various thought leadership initiatives in the field of Sport Integrity, including:
- The SIGA Universal Standards
- SIGA Independent Rating and Verification System (SIRVS)
- The White Paper on Sport Integrity
- The UNESCO-SIGA Business Case for Sport Integrity
- A Legal Analysis on the Criminalisation of Corruption in Sport and;
- The 2020-2021 Global Agenda on Female Empowerment and Leadership in Sport
The participating universities also discussed others areas of mutual interest and current and potential integrity related initiatives from around the world, before reaching consensus on the action points outlined in a Declaration of Intent.
On the creation of SUN, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO, SIGA and Chairman and CEO, SIGA AMERICA said:
“The SIGA University Network is about shaping a new culture of integrity in the sports industry with academia at the heart of our global movement. To usher sport into a new era we need serious, urgent reforms. These reforms can only be achieved if underpinned by knowledge, education and, above all, real cultural change. In this regards, yesterday’s meeting could not have gone better. Credit goes to the vast number of leading universities and research institutes that responded to our call for action and are now actively supporting our reform agenda. We look forward to working with all of them to ensure tomorrow’s leaders are equipped and empowered to positively transform the industry!”
Explaining the output of the SUN, Dr Iain Lindsay, Director of Research, Knowledge and Innovation, and scientific coordinator of the SIGA SUN, explained:
“The aim of the SUN is to build a coalition of likeminded universities and research institutions that are committed to making a tangible impact in enhancing Sport Integrity, in all its forms. This will be achieved in a variety of ways including through accelerating research, by leveraging the collective knowledge base of the network, through knowledge transfer, by incorporating integrity into the university curriculum, through executive education and by collectively developing a future leaders programme. Together, we are creating a robust global movement that will drive cultural change from the lecture theatre all the way to the boardroom.”
Lisa Delpy Neirotti, Ph.D., Director, MS in Sport Management Program; Associate Professor of Sport Management, George Washington University, United States, said:
“As the first university to sign an MoU with SIGA in 2018, it has been a privilege to host a SIGA Women in Sport Symposium, serve on the Youth Sport Task Force, and assist with other projects.”
Dr. Ahmed Al-Emadi, Professor, Sport Management, Dean of College of Education, Qatar University, in Doha, Qatar said:
“The collaboration between SIGA and Qatar University will open further opportunities for research and training of students in sport integrity. Sport is a strategic component of Qatar’s strategy for development, and the local sporting context offers interesting insight into areas of good governance in sport, safety and security, as well as youth development.”
Olena Yarmoliuk, Vice Dean in Science and Management of International Projects, Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University in Ukraine, said:
“The main goal to join SIGA University Network is (1) to create sustainable environment for sharing Sports Integrity values throughout academic staff and student youth in Ukraine, (2) to participate in scientific collaboration with other Universities, and (3) to facilitate the scientific data into the practice of Ukrainian organizations.Our priorities are Financial Integrity and Sustainability of Sport, and Youth Development and Child Protection in Sport.”
Dr. Pamela Serra, Section Head, Sport and Recreation Management, Marketing, Supply Chain & Sport Management, Tshwane University of Technology, in South Africa said:
“The benefits of the SUN are to be a part of the spearhead in leading research and innovation in the arena of sport, sport governance, sport integrity and transformation. More so, to be in the position to impart and implement ‘glocalised’ knowledge into education curriculum and industry in South Africa and Africa. Together we are so much stronger in researching, promoting and implementing sport governance and integrity worldwide. As a sporting nation, where sport has given so much to our country, to be part of the coalition of global leading entities united and committed to sport governance and integrity, it is a legacy to be carried out in memory of our late Nelson Mandela. Through this network, the hope is for global collaborations and the creation of opportunities with the focus on ongoing transformation to be ever more responsive to the needs of the world, African continent and South Africa.”
Emphasising the strength of partnerships, Dr. Vipul Lunawat, Director of Institute of Sport Science & Integrity (ISST) located in Pune, India, said:
“We at ISST strongly believe that success is always achieved working in a team environment. Strong, strategic tie-ups and partnerships are a must to grow in this challenging sports industry. SUN is a unique global platform to connect with like-minded organizations and individuals who share similar values of ISST of integrity, good governance and more importantly teamwork which is a must to grow in today’s competitive world.”
Geoff Dickson, Associate Professor, Sport Management, Management Sport & Tourism, La Trobe Business School in Australia, said: “The SUN offers an otherwise unavailable opportunity to conduct research that makes a difference. The research will make a difference because of its global reach and the connection with industry stakeholders.”
Madeleine Orr, Ph.D, Co-Director of The Management, SUNY Cortland, School of Professional Studies located in the United States said:
“Good sport governance and integrity is about more than just fair playing conditions and safety for athletes, it’s also about considering the people in the communities surrounding the sport, and the space and natural elements where the sport takes place. The Sport Ecology Group looks forward to contributing to this initiative and identifying ways for sport organizations to foster spaces where people and the planet prosper together.”
Recognising the role that sport can play in advocating education, peace, health, values, equity, social and economic development, Professor Dr. Ing. Lidija T. Petrovic, Associate Professor, European Centre for Peace and Development (ECPD UPEACE) located in Serbia, said:
“Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) is an emerging concept which endorses the fact that well-designed sport initiatives can be powerful, practical, and cost-effective tools to aid in development and peace (United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace, 2003; Darnell, 2012). ECPD UPEACE would like to contribute to resulting in greater interest and support in the SDP research, practical implications and policy, to identify the most efficient ways to promote certain outcomes and impacts. Playing a key role and collaborating with international organisations such as UEFA, FIFA and other SIGA partners, ECPD UPEACE should provide advice, consultation and analyses on sport policy issues, particularly those that relate to SDP and protect the integrity of sport to help accomplish the Millennium Development Goals –MDGs.”
The second meeting of the SUN will take place during the SIGA Sport Integrity Week, 7 to 11 September 2020.
If you are a university or research institution interested in joining SUN, please contact Dr Iain Lindsay, Director of Research, Knowledge and Innovation via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.